Clonotypic Features of Rearranged Immunoglobulin Genes Yield Personalized Biomarkers for Minimal Residual Disease Monitoring in Multiple Myeloma

Clin Chem. 2021 Jun 1;67(6):867-875. doi: 10.1093/clinchem/hvab017.


Background: Due to improved treatment, more patients with multiple myeloma (MM) reach a state of minimal residual disease (MRD). Different strategies for MM MRD monitoring include flow cytometry, allele-specific oligonucleotide-quantitative PCR, next-generation sequencing, and mass spectrometry (MS). The last 3 methods rely on the presence and the stability of a unique immunoglobulin fingerprint derived from the clonal plasma cell population. For MS-MRD monitoring it is imperative that MS-compatible clonotypic M-protein peptides are identified. To support implementation of molecular MRD techniques, we studied the presence and stability of these clonotypic features in the CoMMpass database.

Methods: An analysis pipeline based on MiXCR and HIGH-VQUEST was constructed to identify clonal molecular fingerprints and their clonotypic peptides based on transcriptomic datasets. To determine the stability of the clonal fingerprints, we compared the clonal fingerprints during disease progression for each patient.

Results: The analysis pipeline to establish the clonal fingerprint and MS-suitable clonotypic peptides was successfully validated in MM cell lines. In a cohort of 609 patients with MM, we demonstrated that the most abundant clone harbored a unique clonal molecular fingerprint and that multiple unique clonotypic peptides compatible with MS measurements could be identified for all patients. Furthermore, the clonal immunoglobulin gene fingerprints of both the light and heavy chain remained stable during MM disease progression.

Conclusions: Our data support the use of the clonal immunoglobulin gene fingerprints in patients with MM as a suitable MRD target for MS-MRD analyses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers
  • Disease Progression
  • Genes, Immunoglobulin / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Multiple Myeloma* / diagnosis
  • Multiple Myeloma* / genetics
  • Neoplasm, Residual / genetics
  • Peptides / chemistry*
  • Peptides / genetics


  • Biomarkers
  • Peptides